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ASPCA, University of Florida Announce Country's First Graduate Program in Veterinary Forensic Sciences

Latest addition in pioneering educational program will prepare students for careers in veterinary forensics, teach proper application of forensic sciences in animal cruelty investigations       

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recognizing the need for continued education in the field of veterinary forensic sciences, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the University of Florida's Maples Center for Forensic Medicine today announced a new graduate program that will give students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science degree in Veterinary Forensic Sciences from the University's College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, Fla.

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The two-year program, which will begin in May 2014, will include courses that focus on pathology, osteology, animal law, and the intersection of farm animal welfare and the forensic sciences. Applications are currently being accepted.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals who are looking to pursue careers in veterinary forensic science," said forensic entomologist Dr. Jason Byrd, associate director of the University of Florida's William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. "The partnership between the University of Florida and the ASPCA has resulted in unparalleled access to the latest developments in this burgeoning field, including new technologies and improved methods of analysis and investigation."

Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA senior vice president of forensic sciences and anti-cruelty projects, also praised the launch of the new program. "We're seeing a stronger emphasis placed on forensics when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases, so these skills are becoming increasingly important for veterinarians, law enforcement personnel and other professionals," said Lockwood. "We're excited to be working with the University of Florida to offer this graduate-level education program, and continue to foster the application of forensic sciences to veterinary medicine."

Members of the ASPCA's forensic sciences team have provided invaluable assistance in numerous animal cruelty cases, including most recently overseeing evidence collection in a multi-state dog fighting investigation. Other notable cases include the rescuing of 175 dogs from a puppy mill in Hot Springs, Ark. and the removal of hundreds of fighting roosters in Fort Myers, Fla.

The ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program is the nation's first such curriculum within an educational institution, and is dedicated to meeting the veterinary forensic science needs of individuals and agencies worldwide, including education, research and applied casework. In 2012, an online graduate certificate program in veterinary forensics was created to complement the traditional curriculum. Since the Program's launch in 2009, the ASPCA has provided more than $1.6 million in grant funding to develop these initiatives.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About UF Health
University of Florida Health is the Southeast's most comprehensive academic health center. With main campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville, UF Health includes six health colleges, seven research institutes and centers, two teaching hospitals, two specialty hospitals, and a host of physician medical practices and outpatient services throughout north central and northeast Florida. Our mission is to promote health through outstanding and high-quality patient care, innovative and rigorous education in the health professions and biomedical sciences, and high-impact research across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical investigation.

UF Health includes the UF colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, which includes both a large animal hospital and a small animal hospital. The system also encompasses seven UF research institutes and centers: the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of UF, the UF Genetics Institute, the UF Health Cancer Center, the UF Institute on Aging, the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute, and the UF Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona. 

SOURCE ASPCA

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